Favorite Play Ideas for Rainy Days With Toddlers

By Ashley Thorne

August 26, 2019

If you’re anything like me, you can sometimes dread rainy days with a busy toddler!  My husband and I presently have two toddlers in our house whom both love to be outside!  I used to find that they didn’t nap as good if they hadn’t been outside during the day and they just weren’t as ready for bed, come bedtime.  Fresh air seems to do wonders for playing little ones out!  Turns out though, I do not dread those rainy days as much now.  There are certain things we do only on rainy days, which helps keep them entertained when we can’t be outside.  Here are some of my favorite play ideas for rainy days with toddlers.

Baking

 I often look ahead at our weather for the week and save any baking that can be done for that rainy day.  Our oldest loves to bake, with her go-to choice being cookies, of course!  My husband made her a helper stool, which is perfect for assisting in the kitchen!  You can find many different ones online, such as this one or this one or make your own!  Something I like to do, so that she really feels involved, is I measure out the dry ingredients first and have it all in one bowl.  I than let her take part by scooping the dry ingredients out of that bowl and placing it all into the mixing bowl.  She loves being able to tell her Dad that she made cookies that day.  Our youngest is too young yet to help with baking, so at the same time that we are doing that, I get pots and pans and wooden spoons out for him.  He has a great time playing with something different from his usual toys.  It’s even more fun if you put your pots and pans on some towels and give them a bit of water to play with!

Games & Activities

 I like to keep a collection of things to do for rainy days in a closet.  I try to keep watch for things on sale and add to that bin, without them knowing.  It’s always fun to be surprised and have something new to do at the same time!  I am also always looking on Pinterest for new ideas and I recently came across @mombrainactivities on Instagram.  There are so many inexpensive ideas out there, so they don’t have to break the bank!

Something my sister recently came across is @kiwico_inc.You can subscribe to this company and your toddler can receive a new monthly activity in the mail.  Never underestimate your friends with little ones, as well!  They come up with different ideas than you do and it’s always fun to pass these ideas around!  Depending on the age of your toddler, you can search activities that pertain just to them.

We currently have two games wrapped up for our oldest one’s birthday that’s around the corner-  Dr Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat I Can Do That and Let’s Go Fishin’.  This Dr Seuss game involves lots of moving around- perfect for rainy days and helping them burn some energy!  They can try balancing certain objects on their head and jumping up and down while holding onto an object between their elbows.  She just went fishing for the first time and we thought this game would be a fun new activity for her.

Puzzles

Puzzles are another great activity!  Introducing a new puzzle every now and than is a good way to challenge your toddler.  It is so neat to watch them try to figure out puzzles and master them.  We start with a puzzle that is for their recommended age, but once they master it, we get one that is recommended for the next age up, to keep challenging them.

Sensory Bins

Something that is all over the internet and has been very worth-while for me to put together are sensory bins!  You can search new ones or come up with all different themes yourself.  One that my kids have loved is a garden theme using dried black beans as the dirt and I found a set of kids plastic garden tools, flower pots, and artificial flowers at the dollar store.  They love planting their flowers in the different pots!  It is something they can do inside on rainy days, as it is fake dirt after all and easy to store in a big tub with a tight lid.

Toys

Keeping some toys tucked away for a rainy day is good too!  When you pull them out, they are new to them again!  Playing with the same toys each day can get boring, I’m sure, so this will help!   Doing this also saves you from buying new ones more than you’d like to.

Roll of Brown Paper

One of my favorite non-expensive purchases is a big roll of brown paper from the dollar store.  There are so many uses for it!  Stickers go hand-in-hand with this roll of paper for sure!  I have used some painter’s tape to fasten a large piece of this paper to the wall where they can draw a big picture themselves and add stickers.  I’ve also purchased bingo markers from the dollar store and let them stamp the paper with the round dots and than we see how many different round things we can make from those stamps (for example a sun or flower).

Sticker Books

There are also great sticker books at the dollar store that include different themes (zoo, farm, etc).  I have started by drawing a barn in one area and have our daughter match they farm animal stickers up with the barn.  We have also had fun taking turns and lying down on a piece of this roll of paper and tracing each other.  You can have fun adding nails and coloring in nail polish, clothes, hair ties in hair, etc.

Water

All toddlers seem to love playing in water!  A neat find I came across on Pinterest was a letter matching activity.  You simply place letter magnets in a container with some water and let them use a small plastic shovel or a large spoon from kitchen to scoop them out.  You will also have to place letter stickers on a piece of paper and than put them in a plastic sheet to protect the paper from the water.

Which ever letter they scoop out, they than match up to the paper and set the plastic letter on top of the matching sticker.  Something that is also great to get done while it is raining out, is a good toy wash!  I usually fill the bath tub up with warm soapy water and they love carrying toys in and tossing them into the water.  It is something they love helping with!

Making forts are always fun too!  We have made a fort to pretend we are camping in a tent.  We have also made a fort and had a picnic lunch in it or a morning snack.

Crafts

Crafts for toddlers can be anything!  More often than not, I do not purchase cards for special occasions anymore for family/friends.  I let our kids take part in making their card and coloring on it and adding stickers.  They also enjoy coloring packages I have wrapped in brown paper and have ready to send out in the mail for family.  They love it and it is cute to add a personal touch!

Crafts are a lot of fun for special occasions!  There are so many different ideas out there and I’m always turning to Pinterest for new ideas!

Books

 Books are always a great gift idea and is always something we have extra time for on a rainy day!  I love cuddling up on the couch with my two little ones and reading some books together.  It is nice to hit pause in the middle of some chaotic mornings and just sit and enjoy this time together!  I also love hearing what favorite books other moms have.  There are SO many good ones out there and I love introducing new books to my kids.

One we love reading with our daughter right now is Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds.  Some other favorites include Ocean Meets Sky, The Gruffalo, and The Giving Tree, just to name a few!  Our son is loving books by Matthew Van Fleet.  There are pop ups, tails that wag, and different textures to touch.

I hope this article helps Mamas out there looking for some great rainy day ideas!  Those days don’t have to be dreaded!  You can look forward to them and introduce some new, fun things to do!

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